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SLO County judge imposes life-without-parole sentence in Grover Beach matricide case

Greta Mart/KCBX

A San Luis Obispo County judge handed down a steep sentence Wednesday: an Indiana man was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murder of his mother in Grover Beach. It’s the harshest sentence imposed in the county in several years.

Credit SLO County DA
SLO County DA
Lazar's booking photo.

In October, 27-year-old Levente Laszlo Lazar was convicted of stabbing his mother to death in her Grover Beach home in 2018. A jury found that Lazar had premeditated the murder, travelling from Indiana to commit the crime for financial gain.

When a San Luis Obispo County judge determined the sentence Wednesday, San Luis Obispo Tribune reporter Matt Fountain was there.

“The sentencing was pretty fast-paced,” Fountain said by phone Wednesday. “There was a lot of media there, CBS News was covering it. And for whatever reason nobody made a statement. they didn’t even ask if anyone had a statement to deliver. It was only about a minute before Judge Guerrero read the sentence.”

Lazar is the first person in the county to receive life without the possibility of parole in more than six years. According to the San Luis Obispo County District Attorney’s Office, Rhonda Wisto and Frank York received the same sentences for the 2010 torture and murder of 15-year-old Destiny Myers. That case prompted a nearly three-year-long legal battle that cost the county more than a million dollars.

The last time the death penalty was imposed in SLO County was in 2000. The sentence was handed down to serial killer Rex Krebs for the 1988 and 1999 rape torture murders of 21-year-old Rachel Newhouse and 20-year-old Aundria Crawford. Krebs remains on California's death row. California Governor Gavin Newsom has placed a moratorium on the death penalty in the state.

Lazar is expected to appeal his case at a later date.

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